Anyone looking at the various posts I have made over the years, cannot fail to see that I am a music-lover. I might have moaned about Benjamin Britten or execrated Harrison Birtwistle, but I have certainly waxed lyrical—ecstatic even—over Wagner, Beethoven, Berlioz, Richard Strauss, and Gustav Mahler; and also Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, and Chuck Berry. I even made my living by playing music for a year or so. But music, be it classical, folk, or rock ‘n’ roll, is for listening to; possibly, in the case of the latter, danced to (although my wife and I have also danced to Beethoven’s third symphony, to the great amusement of my post-graduate examiner at Essex University...)
What I absolutely cannot abide though, because I think it is an insult to the musicians, and a misery to the unwitting listener, is muzak. I once spent the weekend at a friend of a friend’s house in Phoenix, Arizona. Around 7:30 am, when the lady of the house was dressed and about, the muzak started—in all the rooms of the house excepting the bedrooms—and continued all day. It is a measure of the outlook of this particular household, that in April, average temperature in Phoenix, 24ºC, (it’s effectively in the desert) the outside swimming pool was deemed too cold for swimming ... But I digress.
I have now visited a number of eating establishments in my local area, at least three of which have recently been refurbished for six figure sums. The service is always excellent and the food is first class, but ... there is, in every place, piped music. Worse than that, the volume is at a level that it interrupts conversation. Even worse still, those establishments with gardens or outside areas, pipe the music there too. There is no escape from it.
Why is this? Do the customers want it? I find it difficult to believe so. Is it done to please otherwise bored staff? Is the public deemed to be so illiterate these days on a diet of Strictly Come Dancing, Love Island, interminable sport, or endless films about how we ‘won the war’, that we are incapable of conversing with each other? Well I am sick of it. Tomorrow is a special day for me, and I have elected to have a nice meal at home rather than in a restaurant—yes, I know, most restaurants are closed on a Monday but ...
I give warning to local restaurateurs; in future, without exception, I will ask them to turn their music right down. If they refuse, I will report them to the Health and Safety Executive as being responsible for a clear and present danger to our mental health and physical wellbeing.
Welcome to the Mirli Books blog written by Peter Maggs